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Walsh claims abortion stance could end his political career




Galway West TD Brian Walsh has admitted that he could be putting his political career on the line by voting against proposed legislation which includes the risk of suicide as a grounds for abortion.

The Fine Gael TD confirmed to the Connacht Sentinel yesterday that he was in danger of losing the party whip after announcing he had a “serious issue” with legislation which allowed suicide as a reason for allowing a termination.

Deputy Walsh became the first Fine Gael TD in the country on Sunday to confirm that he would not vote for the proposed legislation, although he denied that his stance on the issue was a criticism of the leadership of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

He claimed the proposed legislation, based on the X Case judgement, was a “stepping stone to abortion on demand” and admitted that he faced the prospect of expulsion from the parliamentary party because of his views.

Deputy Walsh said abortion was “not an appropriate treatment” for a mental health issue, despite being aware that two referenda, in 1992 and 2002, showed the majority of Irish people rejected the removal of suicide as a ground for abortion.

His announcement has been described as a “complete disregard” for the health and lives of pregnant Irish women by the Galway Pro-Choice group, which has urged women not to vote for him in the next General Election.

“I am aware that this decision has been made at huge personal and political cost to me,” Deputy Walsh told the Connacht Sentinel yesterday. “This isn’t motivated by trying to win any kudos. It could well mark the end of my political career. But it is not anti-women, as I believe the life of the mother is paramount.”

Deputy Walsh said health professionals should be able to provide every necessary treatment in pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, without fear of reproach, and he also wanted to see the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 repealed.

He wanted the matter of “suicidal ideation” put to the people in a referendum, but could not vote for legislation for the X Case.

“Hard cases make bad law. X was doubtless a hard case and – while we await the publication of the Heads of Bill – it is likely that legislation codifying its deciding principles will make bad law,” he said.

Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel


Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway rowers aim for Olympic gold!



Best of luck to two Galway rowers – Aifric Keogh of Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, and Fiona Murtagh from Gortachalla in Moycullen – who are part of Team Ireland’s Women’s Coxless Fours team who compete in an Olympic final in Tokyo at 1.50am (Irish time) Wednesday.

Coverage on RTÉ 2 television begins from 1am.

Ireland – who were second in their heat after Australia, who set a new Olympic Record – are in lane two, with Great Britain on their outside, and Australia, favourites for a gold medal, in lane three.

The Netherlands, China and Poland are in lanes four, five and six at the Sea Forest Waterway.

Poor weather meant some rowing events were re-scheduled but the Women’s Fours final was not impacted.

Jim Keogh, Aifric’s father, told the Tribune he was hopeful ahead of the final.

“To make the Olympics is tough, to make the final is tough, to make the medal is tougher,” he said.
Photo: Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty.

*Full coverage of the race and reaction in this week’s Connacht Tribune and Galway City Tribune 

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Connacht Tribune

Paedophile sentenced to a further 17 months in prison



A convicted paedophile, described by a Garda as ‘a prolific child abuser’, has had a 17-month prison sentence added to a 13-year sentence he is already serving for the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Disgraced primary school teacher and summer school bus driver, 69-year-old Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, a native of Tuirín, Béal a’ Daingin, Conamara, had at all times denied two charges of indecently assaulting a ten-year-old boy at a Gaeltacht summer school in Béal a’ Daingin in 1979.

The offence carries a maximum two-year sentence.

A jury found him guilty by majority verdict following a four-day trial at Galway Circuit Criminal Court last month.

At his sentence hearing last week, Detective Paul Duffy described Ó Ceallaigh as a prolific child abuser who had amassed 125 child abuse convictions, committed while he was a primary school teacher in Dublin and while he operated an Irish language summer school in Beal a’ Daingin.

They included convictions for rape and sexual assault for which he is currently serving sentences totalling 13 years.

Those sentences were due to expire in August 2024, but last week, Judge Rory McCabe imposed two, concurrent 17-month sentences on Ó Ceallaigh, before directing the sentences begin at the termination of the sentences he is currently serving.

The judge noted Ó Ceallaigh’s denial and lack of remorse and the lifelong detrimental effect the abuse had on the victim as aggravating factors.

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